If you saw an ad for a restaurant and it said “We promise not to spit in your food”, would you be relieved or a little bit worried? Let’s say for instance that Air New Zealand ran an ad campaign and they said “We promise not to crash into the ocean”, would you choose them over another airline?


As consumers, we are entitled to take a few things for granted. Certain professions have an obligation to do the right thing. Assurances of saliva free food and crash free journeys shouldn’t have to be made by restaurants and airlines. What the restaurant should be promising is that they make the finest Ossobuco in the world, which is based on a 300 year old family recipe that is closely guarded by the Mafia. The airline should be promising that they will always be on time, your luggage wont be lost and that they wont be retrenching thousands of local staff so they can outsource to Mumbai.

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Any fool can make a promise. In fact, Bunnings and Mitre 10 Mega do it all the time with their price promises. However the reality is they are cheating the promise. Put simply, you have absolutely no chance of finding the same stocked item anywhere else in the galaxy. Either they’ve negotiated with their suppliers for the best rate or they are the only company that sells that specific product. 

Consumers want something remarkable from promises, simply because all the best ones are so hard to keep.

I wonder if the good folk at BNZ Bank know this?

BNZ's latest ad campaign is all about the six promises they’ve made to help you be good with money.

They are:

  1. We promise to listen, and help you make the right choices.
  2. We promise to make things simple, so it’s easy to manage your money and make it grow.
  3. We promise to provide fast, effective service, that’s right first time.
  4. We promise to recommend products and services that give you the best value.
  5. We promise to be honest and straight up, at all times.
  6. We promise if we stuff up for any reason, we’ll fix it and do right by you.

Does BNZ Bank really have to promise that they will be honest? Maybe I’m missing something but I always thought that banks and honesty should go together like Ken and Barbi. I guess not. And worst of all, their last promise is basically just a way to weasel out of their other five promises. And what exactly do they mean by "do right by you"? Will I get a cake if they stuff up? 

What I would have preferred to see would be:

  1. We promise that our investment bankers will not misappropriate your money and spend it on teenage hookers and cocaine in Bangkok
  2. We promise that we will not complain about how hard the banking industry is when we’ve made $700 million dollars in profits in just one year

I could go on and on but the only promise they should make is:

  1. We promise to offer the best interest rates, guaranteed.

Now that’s a remarkable promise, simply because it’s so hard (almost impossible) to keep. I can imagine the ad campaign already.